Home-based staff qualification changes

Learn about the transition of home-based early learning services to a qualified workforce, which will occur between 2020-2025.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Home-Based Early Learning Services
  • Service Managers
  • Educators, Teachers and Kaiako

Home-based early learning services must comply with the transition to a qualified workforce.

What's changing?

From 1 January 2025, there will no longer be a quality and standard funding rate and 80% of home-based educators in a service must have a required qualification. The remaining 20% of educators must either be in induction with the service (first 6 months) or enrolled in a required qualification. This must be completed within two years. The percentage of educators in a service that need to be qualified will gradually increase over time. The first transition point is January 2021 for quality funded licences. See the Funding Rates sections for more details on timeframes.

These percentages are calculated on the number of active educators within a service over a week. If the number of qualified educators required is not a whole number, this will be rounded up to the nearest whole person. These percentages are calculated separately for each service and must be maintained to remain eligible for quality funding. See chapter 3-B-4 of the Funding Handbook for detailed information on how to calculate the percentage qualification requirements.

The required qualifications are:

  • A ‘grand-parented’ Level 3 ECE qualification (this means a Level 3 qualification completed before 1 January 2022)
  • A Level 4 or higher ECE qualification listed on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, or otherwise approved by the Ministry of Education
  • A primary teaching qualification
  • Te Ara Tuarua (the level 5 Kōhanga Reo qualification) or higher (Tohu Whakapakari)

Acceptable qualifications must be listed on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF), or otherwise recognised by the Ministry of Education as meeting the requirements for home-based education. A list of accepted qualifications is available on our website. Please note that this list will be updated as we consider additional qualifications.

Accepted qualifications for home-based education [DOCX, 54 KB]

International qualifications that have been assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) as comparable to relevant New Zealand ECE qualifications or primary teaching qualifications will also be accepted.

If you are unsure about whether your qualification meets the new requirements, please contact ece.funding@education.govt.nz

What do you need to do?

If you do not have a qualification that meets these requirements you will need to obtain an appropriate qualification to continue working at a home-based service from January 2025.

If you wish to have your qualification assessed for inclusion on the list of those accepted, please contact ece.funding@education.govt.nz

Discontinued qualifications

If your qualification is listed on the NZQF but identified as ‘Discontinued’ or ‘Expired’, it is still an accepted qualification. Some older versions of qualifications have slightly different names, but the qualification numbers remain the same. These versions will also be accepted.

Completion of qualifications

The previous quality funding requirements allowed educators with five or more credits at Level 4 or above to count as qualified. This is changing and educators will need to have completed a required qualification.

Some providers offer completion certificates for modules of courses or bundles of credits. These are not considered to be completed Level 4 (or above) qualifications as they are not listed on the NZQF.

Educators may wish to approach qualification providers about recognition for prior learning, or cross crediting arrangements that may be applied towards a required qualification.

Evidence of educators’ qualifications

Certified copies of qualifications are required to be kept by the service provider and provided on request by the Ministry.

Transcripts showing completed credits must be kept if educators on quality-funded licences are being counted as having ‘5 or more credits towards a required qualification’ during the transition period.

For educators completing their studies, a record of enrolment in a required qualification must be kept by the service provider. This must clearly show the date the programme commenced.

Funding rates

At the end of the five-year transition, there will be only one funding rate available – the quality funding rate.

Until 1 January 2025, the rate at which you are funded will depend in part, on the percentage of your home-based educators with qualifications by the due dates in the tables below. You must also meet the specific coordinator requirements set out in the Funding Handbook.

Services must apply to move to a quality funded licence by sending a completed EC11 Form and the required documentation to their local Ministry Office.

Quality funding rate
Date requirement is effective

Minimum percentage of your educators with a required qualification

(Fully qualified)

Maximum percentage of your educators able to be in training or induction*


Educators with at least 5 credits towards a required qualification at Level 4 or above

(Partially qualified) 

From 1 January 2021 30% 20%

All remaining educators on the licence

From 1 January 2022 50% 20%

All remaining educators on the licence

From January 2023 70% 20%

All remaining educators on the licence

From January 2024 80% 20% This category no longer applies

 * Educators who do not yet have credits towards a required qualification.

Educators who join a quality funded licence without a completed qualification can only remain in induction for a maximum of 6 months, or enrolled in training up to a maximum of 2 years.

Standard funding rate
Date Minimum % of your educators with a required qualification
Until 1 January 2022 No qualification requirements
1 January 2022 10% 
1 January 2023 30%
1 January 2024 60%

The Funding Handbook will be updated with this information by 1 January 2021.

Read frequently asked questions about the five-year transition(external link)

Visiting teacher support payment

There is funding available through Budget 2020 for home-based services on the standard funding rate as they transition to a qualified workforce. If your service has at least one educator studying toward a Level 4 ECE or Te Ara Tuarua qualification, you are eligible for up to $5092 (inc. GST) annually. This payment is split over the three funding periods per year and is to help visiting teachers provide extra support to these educators in training. The payment is a per-service payment, not per educator.

The payment will be processed at the same time as operational funding payments. In order to receive the payment, you must attest that you have had an educator studying during the last funding period. You must also keep records of educators that are studying (for example, evidence of enrolment in study towards a level 4 qualification or Te Ara Tuarua). You will be required to supply these documents to our audit or licensing teams if requested, and the payment may be recovered if no evidence is available.

The payment has been provided to help visiting teachers offer some extra support to educators in training. This might be through additional contact hours, specific coursework discussion times with individuals, or study groups with multiple educators. There is no requirement to complete records of how the payment has been spent.


Find out if you are eligible in the flowchart below. You can apply from 1 October 2020, and the first payment will be on 1 November 2020. You can be paid in arrears to cover the period from July–September 2020 onwards.

*Funding periods are June–September, October–January, and February–May.

 Visiting teacher flowchart

Application form

Click here to complete the online application form(external link)

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback